LAHORE  - One of the top water experts of the country Professor Dr Iqbal Ali has said that if the talks with Taliban are possible then why not with the opponents of the Kalabagh Dam.
Addressing a gathering of engineers at Institute of Engineers Pakistan here on Monday, Iqbal Ali demanded of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to request PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to persuade KBD opponents in Sindh for construction of the dam as it was a matter of Pakistan’s survival . He said the water saving should be top priority in planning instead of loadshedding or motorways.
Mr Iqbal who is serving as Director Water Resources at NED University Karachi and Member Working Committee on Water from Sindh expressed grave concern over a war like situation that India has had created over the waters of Pakistan-dedicated rivers.
IEP Chairman Engineer Captain Khalid Sajjad, Committee on KBD at Lahore Chamber Chairman Dr Engineer Javed Younas Uppal and IEP Lahore Central Secretary Engineer Amir Zamir Khan and Sindh Tas Water Council President Colonel Abdul Razak Bugti were also addressed the event.
Dr Iqbal was of the view that people were being fooled in the name of Bhasha Dam as its construction was not possible without redesigning of Karakorum Highway which might take four to five years.
“Bhasha Dam is a lie and can’t be constructed in next 10 years. It is very difficult site and will pose threat even after its construction,” held Iqbal Ali. He added that KBD was the world’s most environment-friendly and secure site for building a water reservoir.
Quoting an intelligence report, he said that first leaflet against the KBD was published and distributed in Sindh by the RAW (Research and Analysis Wing of India).
“First attack on our water was made in 1947 when international border drawn left headworks Madhupur (Ravi) and Ferozpur (Sutlej) in India and canals in Pakistan,” he said, adding the rulers at that time instead of fighting the country’s case surrendered and later they signed Indus Water Treaty and accepted the right of neighbouring country on three rivers against the international law.
India, he added, after completion of dams and headworks on three rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) started controlling water supply in Jhelum, Chenab and Indus in 1990.
India started building Nimo Bazgo Hydro Electric Project and Chutak Hydro Electric Project on Indus, Wullar Barrage, Kishenganga Dam on Jhelum and Salal Dam, Baghlihar Dam, Dul Hasti Hydro Electric Project, Lower Kalnai Hydro Electric Project, Ratle Hydro Electric Project, Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project and Miyar Hydro Electric Project on Chenab and Pakistan failed to fight its case against them, he regretted.
“India argues that since Pakistan is wasting 30 million acre feet fresh water per year in Arabian Sea, it does not need water . Pakistan water supply is under attack externally and internally,” he held.
“We should not waste our time in talks rather we should take practical steps to secure the water of the country,” he urged the rulers, adding that appeasement of India should be conditional.
All engineers were in common view that the KBD had been baselessly politicised on unfounded grounds. They stressed that it was a time to set the personal motivations aside and look forward to saving the country’s interest.